How to Download your Facebook Data before deleting your Account

Many people I know are getting off social media and deleting their Facebook account. It can be a difficult decision to delete your account because it’s like burning your personal diary or deleting a recorded timeline of your life experiences. However, Facebook has made it surprisingly easy to get a copy of everything, including your photos, in a format that can be used later. Let’s get started on how to backup and download your Facebook account using a desktop computer.

  1. Login to Facebook and click the down arrow located at the top right of the page which exposes a popup menu.
  2. Click Settings & privacy and then Settings.
  3. Click on “Your Facebook Information” from the the side panel and then “Download Your Information.”
  4. Select the file format as either HTML or JSON. As a developer, I prefer the JSON format which makes it easy to write scripts, parse the data, and upload to another platform if that’s your goal. You’ll still have all the photos as external files so if that’s all you care about then it doesn’t matter. If you select HTML it’ll be easier to view your posts from your local computer in a browser.
  5. Set Media Quality to High so you get the best quality of your photos and set the Date range to “All time” so you get everything.
  6. You can then optionally select what data you really want in your backup file. It defaults to everything. The more you select the bigger the file will be so if space is a concern you’ll want to uncheck the items you don’t care about.
  7. Click “Request a download” which will start generating your backup zip file.

It’ll take a little bit of time to generate the backup file. In my case, it took about 15 minutes and resulted in a 2.4 GB file. The file will expire in a few days so make sure to check back often to see if it’s ready for download. I’ve had to request the backup multiple times because I forgot to download it. Click on the “Available files” tab and you’ll see your requests and if they are pending, ready to download, or expired. Once it’s ready for download, click the download button, and enter your password to start the download.

The Facebook backup is a single zip file containing many different folders and files. You’ll find your posts in a folder called “posts” and your photos and videos in the “media” subfolder. Move your backup file to a safe location as it may contain sensitive information. I hope you found this article useful for backing up your Facebook profile and please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “How to Download your Facebook Data before deleting your Account

  1. Centa

    So I am trying to download my photos without degrading them from Facebook. i don’t care about other data. But there doesn’t seem to be an option to just download photos. I have alot of them as I am a fb user since 2009. I want to deactivate my account.

  2. Riley

    Just making sure. Once the Zip drive is created and saved from FB downloaded files, if FB is deleted so we still have access to those files?


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